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Text Neck: A Modern Health Concern

Text Neck: A Modern Health Concern

If you’re like us, you probably use your phone a lot.

Also, if you’re like us, you probably aren’t always aware of the posture you assume while using it (or any other tablet, laptop, or digital device).

Hint: chances are, it looks something like this:

  • Head and neck flexed down and forward
  • Upper back rounded
  • Shoulders hunched and internally rotated
  • Elbows bent and tucked in to the sides

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this posture per se, it can cause significant problems when you assume this position for prolonged periods of time, day in and day out.

What is Text Neck? Causes and Top Signs & Symptoms

Text neck is a clinical syndrome caused by excessive smartphone or digital device use, during which time a person is hunched over in the classic “texting” position described above. After hours and hours in that forwardly flexed position, the connective tissues in the head, neck, shoulders, and back can become strained, tense, and irritated.

Of course, reading and other activities can also resemble this position, but people tend to use their phones a lot more and a lot longer, thus contributing to this so-called “modern problem.”

Symptoms of text neck include:

  • Stiff, sore, and tender neck
  • Pain in the neck, which may be described as achy, dull, or even sharp
  • Pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility in the shoulders
  • Muscle spasms and knots in the back
  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain and dysfunction (e.g., clicking or misalignment)

If a nerve in the neck or shoulder area is impinged by repeated exposure to this closed in, flexed forward posture, additional neurological symptoms can develop including numbness, tingling, or even eventually weakness in the arms, hands, or fingers.

Beyond causing real-time problems now, text neck can even increase your risk of chronic health issues including osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and spinal misalignments.

How to Prevent Text Neck (And How Our Ramsey Pain Management Team Can Help)

Ramsey pain doctors Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy spend a lot of time educating their patients on ways to improve their body mechanics in order to minimize symptoms of dysfunction, and in recent years discussions about cell phone habits has been an essential part of these conversations.

Here are a few key things to try more often when using your cell phone:

  • Hold your phone at eye level
  • Keep your chin level (not pointed up or down)
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Take frequent breaks

In addition to minding your posture better, you can also alleviate your text neck symptoms by consulting with Dr. Ferrer, Dr. McElroy, or another one of our orthopedic and rehabilitative team members. Our services, which include osteopathic manipulations, physical therapy, electro-acupuncture, and more, can reduce your symptoms as you learn to adopt safer technology habits.

Is Your Neck Bothering You? Our Pain Management in Ramsey Can Help You Get to the Bottom of it

Have you ever thought about how your technology habits are impacting your body? Our multidisciplinary pain management team in Ramsey can help you shed some light on your posture and smart phone use and help you figure out if and how it’s impacting your health. Give Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine a call today at (201) 962-9199, or feel free to contact us via email.

Pain Management Office Bergen County

Risk Factors for Disc Disease

Risk Factors for Disc Disease

Our spinal discs (made up of a combination of cartilage, collagen, and an inner gel-like core), are sandwiched in between the bones within our spine. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not just there for shock absorption, although that is a significant role they play. Discs are also crucial for allowing safe and efficient movement of the spine, as without them our spinal joint spaces would be much smaller and less mobile. Our spinal discs also protect and provide room for nerves to travel within and exit the spinal column itself.

While normal “wear and tear” on spinal discs (like any musculoskeletal structure) can occur with age, not everybody is consigned to damage and breakdown of the discs significant enough for dysfunction, pain, and other symptoms to develop. When this happens, a person can be said to have a condition known as “degenerative disc disease.”  More of an injury and degradation process rather than a disease process, disc disease can cause a disc to become poorly oxygenated and perfused with blood (and it already has a limited blood supply as it is), abnormally shaped or positioned, less pliable, and/or generally worn down or torn. Concurrently, nearby joint spaces can decrease and bony spurs can develop, compounding the problem.

Symptoms of disc disease will vary depending on the location of the injured disc relative to other anatomical structures, as well as the severity of the damage that has occurred. Most of our patients who come to see us for degenerative disc disease issue complain of symptoms including pain that worsens with “BLTs” (bending, lifting, or twisting, or sitting); pain that decreases when walking or changing positions; pain, numbness, or weakness in the arms or legs; stiffness, pain, and muscle tenderness in the neck, upper back, or lower back.

Common Risk Factors for Degenerative Disc Disease

Anyone can get disc disease, but there are a few factors which may place you at a greater risk:

  • A history of back injury
  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Advancing age (although being in your 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s and highly active is also a known risk factor)
  • The presence of other conditions including arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Physically demanding jobs and/or participation in physically demanding activities (such as contact sports)
  • A history of poor posture and/or body mechanics

Struggling with Disc Disease? Our Multidisciplinary Ramsey Pain Management Team Can Help

Disc disease can’t always be cured or prevented, but it can be well-managed, and you don’t need to pay an arm and a leg for effective care. At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, we consider it our mission to provide Northern New Jersey with the best of what modern day, non-surgical, medication-free pain relief has to offer. That’s why our Ramsey pain management team, led by Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy, are proud to offer a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic tools that have shown to be effective for reducing pain and other symptoms related to disc disease, including:

Do you believe you have a disc problem? Would you like to learn more about your relative risk factors and what you can do to protect the health of your spine?  Contact Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today to schedule an initial appointment with us. We’ll be honored to become a part of your healing journey, and we think you’ll be happy, too. To experience the difference with our Ramsey pain management team, call us now at (201) 962-9199.

Pain Management Office Ramsey NJ

5 Signs You May Have Arthritis

5 Signs You May Have Arthritis

Arthritis is a broad term used to describe several dozens of conditions causing joint inflammation. At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, our Ramsey pain management team works with hundreds of people every year struggling with signs and symptoms of various forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.

Wondering what some of the most common signs and symptoms are? Check out these top 5 below:

1. Painful swollen joints.

Considered a hallmark symptom, joint pain caused by arthritis is often described as dull, achy, and sometimes throbbing. Because inflammation is an essential issue in arthritis, joint pain and tenderness can also present with warmth, redness, and swelling as well.

2. Joint stiffness.

Arthritic joints often experience a significant reduction in range of motion. This may show up as an inability to perform certain functional tasks, such as buttoning shirts, scratching your back, or raising your arms above shoulder height.

3. Joint deformities.

As arthritic joints undergo chronic inflammation and damage, they may begin to develop scar tissue, bony overgrowth, and other degenerative changes. This can result in lumps, bumps, abnormal joint alignments (deviations), or even joint enlargements.

4. Crepitus in the joints.

Crepitus refers to either sounds or sensations (or both) similar to grinding, popping, creaking, cracking, or grating. This can happen when the normal smooth and aligned joint surfaces become disrupted, as in the case of arthritis.

5. Joint pain that is worse in the morning.

Compared to people with healthy joints, a person with arthritis will often require a longer time to warm up and get moving. You may notice that your symptoms, including pain and stiffness, are worse first thing in the morning or after rising from sitting for a long time.

Why See Our Ramsey Pain Management Team If You Have Arthritis

While it can’t always be cured, arthritis can be managed. If you’ve been diagnosed with a form of this condition, know it’s possible for you to live an active and healthy lifestyle! Our Ramsey pain management team, led by Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy, can offer you a variety or non-surgical services that can be completely custom tailored to meet your unique needs.

  • Diagnostic imaging can help us confirm a diagnosis in certain cases
  • Regenerative treatments include platelet rich plasma and stem cell injections can rejuvenate damaged joint surfaces
  • Physical therapy can improve the strength and range of motion of your affected joints

These and other services can help you stay on top of your pain without having to become reliant on pain medications nor overly sedentary. If anything, safe and regular exercise is one of the key components to minimizing arthritic pain. We’re happy to provide practical advice on everything from sleep management to physical activity to posture!

Are you currently living with arthritis or wondering if you’re showing early warning signs? Come for a consultation with one of our team members here at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine. From diagnostic imaging to acupuncture and more, our cutting edge services are here to help you! Contact us today by calling 201 962 9199.

Spinal Osteoarthritis

Living with Spinal Osteoarthritis

Living with Spinal Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is a general term for joint inflammation and damage. It actually refers to over 100 different conditions, however is typically used to describe the most common form, osteoarthritis, also known as OA.

Like other types of arthritis, OA can affect just about any joint in the body, including spinal joints, with the neck and lower back being the most frequently affected spinal regions. This is a chronic condition associated with intra-articular (inside-the-joint) tissue breakdown. Normally, our joints contain cartilage and fluid to lubricate and cushion the joint; in OA, the cartilage wears down over time, leading to a painful bone-on-bone situation and narrowed joint space. This irritation can trigger the development of bony outgrowths, known as bone spurs, which may impinge on nearby nerves. For this reason, many people with OA also experience pain, numbness, and/or weakness in one or several limbs.

What Does Spinal Osteoarthritis Feel Like?

A person with spinal osteoarthritis (OA) will typically complain of stiffness and pain in their affected joints. This pain is typically described as achy, and is often worse first thing in the morning or immediately upon standing after sitting for a while (this is a common issue for people with sedentary jobs).

Who Gets Spinal Osteoarthritis?

Anyone can get spinal OA, but it’s more likely to occur in older people, or people with a history of joint trauma.

How Can The Team At Progressive Spine & Sports Help Me Live with My Spinal Osteoarthritis?

We have “spine” in our name for a reason! The team at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, led by Ramsey pain management doctors Dr. Kevin McElroy and Dr. Steven Ferrer, have extensive training and clinical experience working with spinal conditions. We find this area of the body not only fascinating to us as healthcare practitioners, but also essential to health for virtually anyone who walks through our clinic doors.

An accurate diagnosis is key for ensuring optimally streamlined treatment. Using advanced  diagnostic imaging and other tests and measures, our team can rule out other similar conditions (such as ankylosing spondylitis or rheumatoid arthritis) and confirm both the presence and severity of OA. Based on the results of our initial evaluation, we can implement individualized treatment which focuses on addressing the essential elements of an OA condition: joint stiffness, joint swelling, pain, and reduced functional activity tolerance.

Here are a few examples of what we can do for you or your loved one living with spinal OA:

  • Osteopathic manipulations, which can improve the alignment and mobility of affected joints
  • Regenerative treatments, including stem cell and platelet rich plasma injections, which can improve the health and integrity of affected joints
  • Physical therapy, which can help strengthen the muscles and tendons surrounding and supporting affected joints

Are you looking for a second opinion about your spinal osteoarthritis? Wondering if OA is what’s causing your neck or lower back discomfort and dysfunction? Don’t guess: find out and get help. To schedule an appointment or to learn about our non-surgical orthopedic and rehabilitative services, call Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today at (201) 962-9199. We are proud to be Northern New Jersey’s leaders in comprehensive pain management. We invite you to experience the difference with our Ramsey team.

physical therapy ramsey nj

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is a highly mobile joint which requires the intricate coordination of many joints, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments in order to work properly, but accidents, poor posture, repetitive trauma, and overuse can easily disrupt it.

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

Here at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, our pain management team, led by Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy, works with people of all ages struggling with shoulder dysfunction. The following are a few of the most common shoulder conditions we see at our clinic:

Arthritis

Joint inflammation and degradation. The most common type, osteoarthritis, is often a result of normal “wear and tear” on a joint, especially if the person has a history of shoulder trauma. Other symptoms including stiffness, joint crepitus, and muscle weakness.

Adhesive Capsulitis

Also known as “frozen shoulder,” this condition occurs when damage and scar tissue cause the capsule of your shoulder to become thick and stiff. Range of motion is severely limited, and pain is also present.

Bursitis

You have small fluid-filled sacs all around your body which lie between tendons and bones; they function as “friction-reducers” and help protect and cushion your joints. Sometimes (and often as a result of minor trauma or repetitive motion) these sacs can become irritated and inflamed, which causes pain and impaired movement.

Impingement

Normally when you raise your arm, there is plenty of room for the muscles and tendons to move through and around the bones within your shoulder. With impingement, the bones rub against these structures, leading to pain and abnormal movement. Over time, impingement of the rotator cuff can lead to bursitis, tendonitis, or even arthritis.

Muscle Strain & Tendonitis

Commonly seen in athletes and physical laborers, the muscle fibers within your rotator cuff muscles can easily become torn or damaged, leading to pain, swelling, weakness, and impaired motion. Chronic inflammation within your biceps tendon can also lead to pain, weakness, and dysfunction.

Our Ramsey Pain Management Team Diagnoses & Treats Shoulder Dysfunction—Here’s How

When you come to see us for help with your shoulder pain, our team will take you through a thorough physical examination using the most advanced technology and evidenced-based tests and procedures. Based on the results of our examination, we’ll be able to diagnose your condition and help you understand what’s causing your pain.

Our treatment plans for shoulder pain are highly customized, and may include:

  • Physical therapy, to improve the strength and mobility of your affected shoulder
  • Osteopathic manipulations, to restore normal joint movement
  • Acupuncture, to trigger tissue healing and relieve pain
  • Interventional pain injections and Botox injections, to reduce pain and swelling and increase your tolerance to therapy and joint manipulations, allowing you to get the maximum benefit out of our other services
  • Stem cell and platelet rich plasma injections to help restore the surface and integrity of your glenohumeral (shoulder) joint surface

Are You Tired of Dealing With A Painful Shoulder?

Don’t let a nagging injury turn into a long-term issue! Call Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today at (201) 962-9199 to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors or therapists, or to learn more about our non-surgical orthopedic and rehabilitation services. We look forward to helping you!

ACL & MCL Treatment NJ

Diagnosing & Treating ACL & MCL Tears

ACL & MCL Tears

 

You may have heard of ACL & MCL tears being a “career-ruining injury” back in the day for football players, soccer players, basketball players, and other athletes. Fortunately, recent advances in both diagnostic and therapeutic techniques have allowed many people suffering from ACL & MCL tears to enjoy full or near-full recoveries and a return to the sport they love.

At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, our Northern New Jersey pain management team works with hundreds people every year suffering from ACL and MCL tears. Lead by Ramsey pain doctors Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy, we’ve helped everyone from young student athletes to older adults find customized and comprehensive care for their knee ligament damage.

 

The Function of Your ACL and MCL

 

Your knee is a mobile, yet very stable, hinge joint. It gleans its stability largely from two major ligaments, your ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and MCL (medial collateral ligament). These ligaments connect your femur to your tibia, which form the upper and lower articular surfaces of your knee.

While they are 2 distinct ligaments, the ACL and MCL are close enough together and serve a similar function that they will often both become injured at the same time.

 

How ACL and MCL Injuries Occur

 

The mechanism of injury of an ACL or MCL tear is often some sort of sudden stop or change in direction. As you can imagine, this often happens during sports like basketball, soccer, or gymnastics, when a person jumps or pivots. Ligament damage can also occur if the knee is directly hit or if it is exposed to repetitive stress.

The severity of ligament damage depends on the injury itself as well as other factors like general ligament laxity, age, weight, and overall health. Minor ligamentous injuries are considered “sprains,” whereas severe injuries can lead to a full on tear in the ligament fibers.

Of course, you don’t have to be an athlete to suffer from an ACL/MCL tear. Any sort of trip or fall may lead to stress and strain on the knee and lead to ligament damage. Symptoms include:

  • Mild, moderate, or severe knee pain, especially along in the inside of the knee
  • Swelling and tenderness around the knee
  • The sensation of instability, as if the knee will lock, catch, or give way

 

Diagnosing & Treating ACL & MCL Tears at Progressive Spine & Sports

 

Our team at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine can diagnose an ACL/MCL tear through a variety of techniques, including physical exam, symptom assessment, and musculoskeletal ultrasound imaging. Depending on the degree of your injury, we’ll implement an individualized treatment plan which may include:

  • Regenerative treatments, including platelet rich plasma injections and stem cell injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Interventional pain injections

Together, these services can heal your injured ligaments, reduce your pain, reduce excessive scarring, and increase stability and strength of your knee.

 

Is Your Knee Injury Keeping You From the Active Lifestyle You Love? Our Ramsey Pain Doctors Can Help

 

If you live near Ramsey, NJ and are looking for someone to help you or a loved one recover from an ACL & MCL tear, then call Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine. To schedule an appointment or speak with one of our Ramsey pain doctors, call us today at (201) 962-9199.